Many students at Brown, regardless of their present concentration, grew up reading fabulous literature — classics such as Frog and Toad, In the Night Kitchen, and Shel Silverstein’s various nightmare visions of poetry.
When we grew older, we learned of the glories of science fiction, that magical realm where galactic empires rose and fell, robots battled from dusk til dawn, and farm boys from desert planets made out with their sisters. Truly, those were the boldest visions of the imagination.
Occupying one of the loftiest positions in the genre was, is, and forever shall be Ender’s Game, Orson Scott Card’s classic novel of youth-turned-soldier in the service of humanity. Without giving too much away, at one point in the novel a group of child-commanders are controlling a computer simulation of a space battle. Their ships are equipped with an amazing weapon that, when detonated, forms an ever-expanding sphere of energy that basically turns whatever matter is around it into space dust. Every time the wave of destruction hits a new thing, it grows more powerful until it finally eats up all it can and then dissipates.
The aliens in the simulation start out ignorant of the weapon’s power. The children fire it into the tightly-packed ships and the cosmic death sphere expands rapidly, eating them all up. Easy victory. In later computer battles, though, the enemy’s AI gradually realizes that if the ships spread themselves out and avoid bunching up, the explosion of one won’t allow the wave of destruction to reach the whole fleet. They become harder to eradicate and better equipped for revenge.
All of which is to say: don’t take the carrel right next to someone in the library.